Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Capstan rope winch

The white object to the left in the photo below is a capstan rope winch; a motor with a rotating cylinder that pulls a rope with a winch-like action. The rope wraps a couple of times around the capstan and when slight tension is applied to the free end of the rope, friction takes over and begins pulling on the load end of the rope. When tension is relaxed on the free end, the rope slips on the capstan and the load waits. The length of rope used on the capstan is unlimited. That's the beauty of the capstan rope winch over a fixed drum winch. Winches are limited by the length of cable that can be conveniently stored on an attached spool. With a capstan, the free end of rope accumulates on the ground or in a bucket.

This capstan is powered by a 12 volt car battery and includes a thermal circuit breaker, solenoid, and foot-operated switch (not visible in photo above) so both hands are free to handle the rope. It is rated to pull up to 1000 pounds and will lift 500 pounds at 31 feet per minute...about 6 inches per second. Not too fast and not too slow.

I'm only planning to lift, at most 300 pounds, up a 35 degree inclined plane, using a cart with rollers on a 2x6 rail, about 150 linear feet. I estimate about 2.5 to 3 minutes of travel time for the load I'll be lifting.

A plywood box covers and protects the wiring components and the foot switch nestles alongside the battery on the platform when not in use.

The carriage is a pair of steel rails onto which a pair of wheels are axled, and a platform of hardwood to which the capstan is bolted. The steel rails form handles like a wheel barrow to help position the tool, and a steel wire-rope cable is attached with carabiners so that it can be wrapped around a large tree to anchor it against the load.

What load? Granite rock, what else?!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Charles' place

This is the house Mr. Charles Greene built and lived in, in Carmel-by-the-Sea, in 1918, when he was asked by Mr. D.L. James to design and build a home on 3.5 acres along the Pacific Ocean in Carmel Highlands. This humble abode still exudes charm and architectural elegance, playful without pretension.

Below is the house Charles built for D.L. The scale of it all is larger, but it all fits in character consistently. Who is doing this quality of creation today? Is there even a palette for it? I'm reminded of something I've read that was said about the eloquence of Abraham Lincoln that seems to correspond: "The clearness of your statements, the unanswerable style of your reasoning, and, especially, your illustrations, which were romance and pathos and fun and logic all welded together."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

volunteer beauty

I was walking along busily, glanced at this flower, and stopped about 10 steps later,  the lingering image blotting out whatever I was busy about.  I went back and snapped this picture.  Anyone know what it is?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Greenhouse roof sparkles

Hand-cleaned every sloped pane of glass on the exterior. A spritz of water with a dash of vinegar, half a dash of ammonia, and a squeegee.

And an improved strategy for future cleanings. Much more energy-efficient, and less labor intensive, and far more effective to boot.
Quick, everybody look, before the next flock of seagulls pass overhead.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Doing windows

A greenhouse has a lot of windows. Walls and roof. Sometimes the ones in the walls get cleaned. Less often the roof gets washed, either by rain or by the conscientious caretaker. But rarely do the inside surfaces of the roof windows get washed. Wait long enough, though, and the payoff is significant enough to inspire even the least conscientious caretaker to rise to the occasion.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Carmel Sunset

the path of progress

Planting native drought resistant foliage along the upgraded northern path,

it will soon be mulched with the shredded clematis vine that was pulled off of the tea trees at the front gate.

The arch over the entrance to the garage was encrusted with the dried remains of old trumpet vine branches pruned back years ago. They've been pulled off now and I think it presents a pleasing and unobstructed series of arched lines.

Blueberry Hill

We planted some blueberry bushes on the hillside next to the cottage. Our first harvest bursts with flavor that re-educates the taste buds as to what these are supposed to taste like and brings back childhood memories.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

On the seat of my edge

Time: the dynamic changing or shifting of the date of the present, directionally invariant.
Funny how some vantage points convey the idea of timelessness even while entropy inexorably accrues.

Entropy mandated some attention be paid to this vantage point. It was beginning to slide down the hill, marking time.

A steel pipe pounded into the ground and strapped to the bench at both sides. It didn't take much time at all.

When you sit down in these seats, you lean back, expecting to come to rest against the upright part of the seat, but you keep going back another few inches until you're REALLY sitting back. This bench mandates a fully surrendered relaxation, worthy of the view and ideas of timelessness. I'll have to come back and try it when I have more time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

On the path...

The northern path I cut back in '07 had a nice rustic feel to it, but over the months the hillside above had begun migrating west and, having been denuded of weeds, was more susceptible to erosion. I had some old termitified timbers salvaged from replacing the footbridge last year, and with a coat of copper-green on one side & one edge, they'll lend themselves nicely to keeping the hillside from encroaching on the path.
Next we'll get some native drought-resistant foliage to dress up the slope. Note the missing Monterey Pine that I blogged about here.

October of 2007, looking north up the path:

and Oct.'07, looking south, down the path...

Today, July 6, 2009, looking south:

...and looking north, at Giddy...


Not the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) about which there was so much hyperventilating these past few months in central Kahleeforneeya, but looking very much like it (though ours is more dapper and distinguished, I think), this is the Garden Tortrix Clepsis peritana.  He is causing a kerfuffle in GH room 2 at the moment, but I'm going to introduce him to bacillus thurengiensis and see how they get along.

Sunday, July 5, 2009